Things annoying me today

The parents of a 13 year old girl encouraging her to sail solo around the world. She is keen to do it, don’t get me wrong, I just think that 13 is too young, boy or girl, to be doing something like this. I don’t think a 13 year old is emotionally ready for the isolation such a journey entails. I know that there is a 15 year old Australian girl planning her own solo trip and I’m ambivalent about that too. But there is a lot of difference between 15 and 13, more than just two years in age.

Secondly, the leaked test results about Caster Semenya. Allegedly her testosterone levels are three times higher than the average woman. Okay, so what does this actually mean? A quick google tells me nothing. Could her body just have a mutation that causes her to produce more testosterone? Does this actually prove anything? Does the media actually care?

High hormone levels do not always translate to a failed drugs test. Testosterone levels can vary widely.

Apparently should she want a career in finance after this though, her options are good since women with high testosterone take more risks (like men) and are often more successful in finance than non-risk takers.

So, what’s bothering you today?

Categories: arts & entertainment, media, medicine, work and family

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20 replies

  1. I’d like to know a little more about that too Mindy (the levels of testosterone in women). I mean sure we know the average – or what the media is telling us is the average – but what of the fluctuations around that? I mean if it varies a *lot* then what *does* it mean that it is ‘three times higher’.

  2. and this

    PROSECUTORS have admitted they gave a judge the wrong information about Adelaide’s controversial “technical rape” case, which attracted national publicity.

    And this from the defence.

    ”My client should be sentenced on the basis there was consensual sex, and then the victim withdrew her consent by closing her eyes and pretending to be asleep,” he said

    So, she was raped by your client. That “withdrew her consent” bit too tricky for ya?

  3. What does this mean:
    AdelaideNow is unable to publish comment on this story for legal reasons.

  4. There are various genetic conditions which lead to XX persons having high testosterone levels, as well as the possibility that a person could be born XY but with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome which means that their body doesn’t develop male genitals and the child looks like a girl from birth onwards – often not detected until puberty appears without menstruation. But elite athletes often don’t menstruate anyway.
    There’s also a type of benign tumour that produces high levels of testosterone in the body.
    I guess we’ll all know far more than any of us really need to about the biological quirks of this girl who was born and raised as a woman up until she started running really really really fast.
    As Warinner said on the other thread, it was inevitable that with such a rapid improvement in her times over such a short period that she would be closely scrutinised, because the extremely rapid improvement is so uncharacteristic of typical athletic progression. But the International Athletics officials have handled this abominably badly.

  5. Anna,
    Presumably the paper doesn’t employ someone to pre-moderate reader comments, and their lawyers are nervous about what readers might decide to say (eta) in a case that is still sub judice.

  6. But there is a lot of difference between 15 and 13, more than just two years in age.

    One year in this case, Laura Dekker is very close to turning 14 and in fact plans to start after her birthday. I don’t know what to make of it, I get something of a “none of my business” feeling from it.

  7. Yeah, I’m not sure what I feel about the girl planning to sail solo – I’m incredibly impressed that she’d even *want* to. I’m WAY too much of a wuss for that sort of trip!
    I guess I get nervous for her about physical issues: strength and endurance/what happens if she gets injured, and about the risk (the mention of pirate territory made me jumpy). Fourteen does sound quite young…
    But I also am hesitant to decide I think it’s wrong/should not happen. She obviously wants this, and her parents obviously feel she’s trained sufficiently and will be ok. I like Mary don’t really know what to make of it.

  8. “I get something of a “none of my business” feeling from it.”
    Heh, never stopped me having an opinion though! I understand that Laura Dekker’s sailing skills are not in question, as she has literally been around and on boats since birth, I’m just not sure a 14 year old is mentally tough enough to withstand the pressures of being alone that long along with the stresses of dealing with a boat all by yourself. I’m concerned that the pressure to be the youngest is a driver, as well.

  9. It’s meaningless as written. Does this mean three times the average testosterone level, three times the upper limit of the reference range, or something else? Levels as high as 2.5 times the upper limit of the reference range can be found in conditions as common as polycystic ovarian syndrome, and no-one questions whether or not women with PCOS are women. Higher levels can occur in other conditions. Additionally, reference ranges are as broad and fuzzy as hell. In one study with women with no sex-hormone atypicality diagnosis at all, hirsute women had testosterone levels more than three times higher than non-hirsute women.
    Levels also vary significantly throughout the day, and throughout the menstrual cycle, and I don’t know whether there’s been a reference range produced for superelite athletes.

  10. Yeah, I’m not sure what I feel about the girl planning to sail solo – I’m incredibly impressed that she’d even *want* to. I’m WAY too much of a wuss for that sort of trip!
    It’s why people crap on Ellen MacArthur; she achieved something most people couldn’t even attempt. MacArthur has been open about how psychologically harsh the solo voyage can be, so I also have misgivings about a teenager trying it. I take Mary’s point though.

  11. I take it as 3 times the level of the average female athlete. But who knows if it still within the range of what is “normal”.
    It is appalling how it has all been handled. If they have suspicions of hormone use they should wait for the drug test results before all this harmful speculation.
    The tabloids have overhyped the issue for titillation though.
    Has anyone else noticed there seems to be a small contingent of MRA Wankers- R- Us who immediately pounce on blogs /opinion columns and the like as soon as the word feminism or women is tagged? Usually the same writing styles, same phases, female pseudonyms, the same cut and paste arguments (usually some batshit crazy US or UK source). God what sad individuals – that is what their whole life if about?!!!!
    A couple posters /trolls over at Larvatus Prodeo seem to be reading straight from the bingo card today.

  12. My guess is that this girl and her parents probably know more about whether she’s ready for a challenge like this than we as media consumers do. Possibly sort of what Mary meant by “none of my business”!
    The other thing that strikes me is that unlike most parents of girls, at least these parents aren’t trying to restrict what she can do; rather than fencing her in, they’re letting her (literally) explore the world.

  13. Maybe so, but Jessica Dubroff’s parents thought the same thing (although she was 7) and that ended in disaster.

  14. Mmm – what just bothered me immensely is that in going back to three days work a week I’m losing about $500 a fortnight. It’s not something I can comfortably afford, but is worth it to finish the degree quicker.
    Last night I withdrew a hundred to pay some school fees, knowing that money was coming in Thursday and the only direct debit I had to think about was $19 and I had enough there.
    Only a shitload of visa purchases got processed too…so they hit me with an effing $45 fee. I mean this shit used to happen to me all the time – I hated being so familiar with such a marker of poverty – and it STILL galls me that they can do this in a punitive measure aimed directly AT those who can least afford it: we’re all pushed into direct debit and only those who are living on shitty budgets will overdraw an account in that mundane way. So FORTY FIVE DOLLARS???
    Anyway for months they’ve been advertising how wonderful they are since they’re dropping all those sorts of fees to $8. I called and spat the freaking dummy (I just feel a little humiliated I think that for a while I didn’t need to think about this and suddenly I’m having my nose rubbed in the decline in my financial stability and well being by a bank) and (after they said ‘Oh yeah but that doesn’t start til October) they agreed to reduce it to $9 ($8 plus GST?).
    I’m really relieved they’ve agreed to sort it out somewhat, but F*CK I hate the whole premise and once I graduate it’s one of the things I want to take on – the gall of banks charging exorbitant fees to those who can least afford it. GRRRRRRRRRRRRR

  15. @ fuckpoliteness – yeah, it’s so punitive. I didn’t realise how much until I saw that accounts over a certain balance (including personal accounts linked to business accounts) have fees waived. Having money saves you money. I’m glad you spat the dummy and saved yourself some cash, even though I’m pissed that you had to do it!

  16. That nasty little bit about it not starting until October hasn’t been well publicised. But even $9 seems a lot to charge someone for temporarily overdrawing. I think banks should have to explain why it costs them money when someone overdraws.

  17. I’m with you FP, I’ve paid way too many of those in the process of moving accounts around recently (and in not having enough cash). I am particularly annoyed when I have two accounts with the one bank, and the direct payment comes out of the wrong account, so it doesn’t have enough money while the other one does. Time was they’d call you and ask if you wanted to move the money across to cover it. Now they don’t waste their time doing that, and they charge you $45 for their inactivity.

  18. What’s annoyed me today is a doctor who’s diagnostic skills aren’t even as good as mine (with Google). He decided the nearly 2yr old kid needed hospitalisation and IV antibiotics. I thought she had bronchiolitis symptoms, but was too old for it. Nevertheless, since she seemed to be wheezing a bit, I thought trying ventolin might be worth a go. After an hour or two, the hospital doctors came to precisely the same conclusion.
    The hospital doctors then went on to use otherl skills and determine that the ventolin did help a little, and was worth continuing. I’m not annoyed by them – they demonstrated why Google will never replace them. Just the useless local GP, who is sadly not so unusual.

  19. An individual 14 year old could well be emotionally mature enough to know exactly what she’s signing up for, although most wouldn’t, so I’m hesitant about forming an opinion either way. It’s such a rapid period of development, yk? Though I agree the difference between 14 and 16 is huge. I think of two years in your teens as being about equivalent to ten years anywhere later, really.

  20. I think my issue really is I wouldn’t let my kids do it and don’t understand other parents so eager to let their 14 year old spend two years pretty much on her own. But as she is a complete stranger to me, I’m going to accept that her parents may know her better.

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